A Vision of Sugarplums to Dance Through Your Head




A Vision of Sugarplums to Dance Through Your Head


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.


Today I made about 450 sugarplums, those seasonal treats made famous by Clement Moore's famous poem. They are relatively quick, easy to make, use all natural ingredients, are delicious and are very good for you.

Sugar plums, historically speaking, are much like omelets, in that a wide variety of source materials and fillers can be used, and yet the dish retains its identity.

The main ingredients are dried fruit, such as dates, figs, apricots, cranberries and raisins, which are minced fine (or put through a food processor) and mixed together into a paste. 

The resultant paste is then mixed with an equal measure of minced nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, and cashews. (Yes, I know cashews are not technically nuts, but the seed pod of the cashew apple) But equal parts fruit to nut ratio.

This year my combo was 75% cranberries 25% dates mixed with 50-50 walnuts and hazelnuts.

When properly mixed, this paste forms thick, sticky sweet mixture. To this you must add a very small amount no more than a tablespoon of brandy or whiskey. This leavens the sugary nature, helps keep them moist, and provides a touch of bite to them. Mix thoroughly with your hands, much like kneading bread dough. Form this paste into small balls with your hands, then drop into granulated sugar and toss, to coat them. Let them sit for an hour or so, then repeat the coating process. 

If desired, you can place a small nut like a pistachio inside the sugarplum. I tried that last year, they were a hit.

Frankly, I think they are fabulous, and I hope you will as well.

Merry Christmas!








©2014 Christopher Reilley




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